Mon, Nov 01, 2010 - Page 4 News List

Chinese rights lawyers blocked from visiting US

AFP, BEIJING

Two prominent Chinese lawyers have been barred from flying to the US to meet legal experts, one of the attorneys and an activist group said, amid a general crackdown on rights campaigners.

Li Subin (李蘇濱) and Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) were blocked on Saturday at customs in Beijing and Shanghai airports respectively as they prepared to travel to the US, the US-based Christian rights group ChinaAid said on its Web site.

Li said yesterday that customs had said the “Beijing state security headquarters” would not let him through, without providing more details. He was going to the US to meet with members of the judiciary and of law societies, he said.

ChinaAid said both lawyers had been invited for academic exchanges with US legal scholars and to observe tomorrow’s midterm elections.

Bob Fu (傅希秋), the head of ChinaAid and a former student leader during the 1989 Tiananmen democracy protests, was able to speak to them after they were prevented from leaving the country.

“It seems that the domestic security squad had known their schedule before they left for the airport,” he said on the Web site.

Activists, civil rights campaigners and academics in China have been under intense scrutiny since dissident Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 8. Police have placed dozens of activists under detention, house arrest or increased supervision since that date.

New York-based Human Rights in China has said the scope of the crackdown exceeds similar campaigns before the 2008 Beijing Olympics and last year’s 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

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